A Theology for the Church edited by Daniel L. Aiken
Those who enjoy systematic theology will want to note the fruit of our Southern Baptists friends in their newly-released A Theology for the Church (B&H Academic). The one-volume systematic is written by a host of contributors including Russell D. Moore on natural revelation, Daniel L. Aiken on the person of Christ, Paige Patterson on the work of Christ, Mark Dever on the nature of the church and a concluding essay by Albert Mohler on “The Pastor as Theologian.”
[Side note: Patterson, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, will always remain dear to my family. On a Sunday morning in September, 1999 God was gracious to save both my wife and I at the same time through Dr. Patterson’s sermon on Luke 18:9-14 in Lincoln, NE. He is a fitting writer to describe the work of Christ on the Cross.]
A Theology for the Church is just that, written to be useful for laypersons and for preachers in sermon preparations. The book’s content is developed around four questions:
(1) What does the bible say?
(2) How has the church developed this theology historically?
(3) How does the systematic category fit in the broader canon of Scripture?
(4) What is the significance of the doctrine for the church today?
Increasingly over the past few years systematic theologies have displayed a greater awareness to historical theology and especially the work of the early church. Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical by Robert Duncan Culver (Mentor: 2005) was a good example.
A Theology of the Church was wisely developed around historical theology and makes good use of Aquinas, Aristotle, Augustine, Irenaeus, John of Damascus, Origen and Plato into the theological discussions. To me, the most impressive use of this historical approach was the chapter on eschatology by Russell D. Moore (see pages 873-892). Moore traces out the eschatological convictions of the Patristic authors (Irenaeus of Lyons, Justin Martyr, Origen and Augustine), then moves into the eschatology of the Medieval writers, then on to Reformed and Post-Reformed writers and finishes in the contemporary theological positions where he explains Protestant Liberalism, Neo-orthodoxy, Revisionist Theologies, the range of views in current Evangelicalism, the significance of Progressive Dispensationalism and concludes with the historically important movements particular to Baptist eschatology.
Overall, A Theology for the Church is a very nice work. Baptists and non-Baptists will find it pastorally sensitive and very useful.
Title: A Theology for the Church
Editor: Daniel L. Aiken
Authors: Gregory Alan Thornbury, Russell D. Moore, David S. Dockery, David P. Nelson, Timothy George, Peter R. Schemm, Jr., John S. Hammett, R. Stanton Norman, Daniel L. Aiken, Paige Patterson, Malcom B. Yarnell III, Kenneth Keathley, Mark E. Dever, R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Reading level: 3.0/5.0 > moderate but not difficult
Dust jacket: no
Topical index: yes
Scriptural index: yes
Text: perfect type
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Academic
Price USD: $49.99 from B&H; $36.99 from CBD
ISBNs: 080542640X, 9780805426403